29 Unusual Things To Do In San Miguel De Allende

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San Miguel de Allende has been voted multiple times as the best small city in the world. Let’s go off the beaten path with 29 unusual things to do in San Miguel de Allende to discover why.

Ready? Let’s dive straight in! 🙌

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1. Attend A Free Event

Every month San Miguel has special events for free or for a little entrance fee at different locations. You can see the schedule hanging around all over the city center.

There are mostly music events. We went to a Jazz one at the main square that was really good, fun and free. So make sure to check out the schedule when you are in town.

Event schedule of events in San Miguel de Allende
Keep an eye out for these event schedules in town

2. Go Past El Mirador To Take The Best Photo

Walking up to El Mirador is one of the top things to do in San Miguel de Allende. But we found that you can get one of the best photos when you walk past the official lookout point.

So I recommend after visiting El Mirador that you walk a few hundred meters further to see the cathedral from an unusual perspective at the end of a steep alleyway.

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An unusual view of the main cathedral in San Miguel de Allende
Make sure to check out this unusual spot 📸

3. Don’t Miss Out On This Unusual Mural In Guadalupe

Guadalupe is a hip neighborhood in San Miguel close to the city center. Since this part of town is not protected by UNESCO you will see a lot of cool street art there.

Visiting this part of town is for sure no secret but you might miss out on a hidden street covered in amazing murals. Particularly one which uses a hedge to create hair around a woman’s face!

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Katharina standing next to an unusual street art of a womans face surrounded by plants as hair in Guadalupe
When the plant around the face blossoms it’s even more beautiful

4. Watch A Celebration In The Park With Mojigangas

Visiting Benito Juarez Park is also one of the top things to do in San Miguel de Allende. One thing that makes it really special is when you go there on the weekend you may get lucky and witness a wedding or Quinceanera.

When there is a celebration you will see Mojigangas, big puppets, dancing and a band playing. Mojigangas are a tradition brought over from Spain and you can spot them all around San Miguel.

But seeing them dancing among the crowd is so much more fun! We got lucky twice and saw them once for a wedding in the gazebo of the park and once leading a parade for a 15-year-old birthday which is called a Quinceanera in Mexico.

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Mojigangas walking through the park - one of the unusal things to do in San Miguel de Allende
Mojigangas walking and dancing through the park

5. Visit The Impressive Art Room At Centro Cultural

If you like art and murals this place is for you. Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez El Nigromante hosts art exhibitions for free and local markets on the weekends.

You will see great murals scattered throughout the cultural center but the most impressive part for me was the room pictured below. The room is totally empty but the walls are covered in interesting patterns. Worth a visit and for sure a very unusual art room to see!

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Katharina standing in the art room at the cultur center in San Miguel gazing up
A room fully covered in murals

6. Have A Private View Of The Cathedral At Instituto Allende

Instituto Allende was established by Stirling Dickinson and others as an art school and is one of the reasons why so many artists have moved to San Miguel. Now it’s mainly used for events, art exhibitions and has a cafe.

Besides the interesting art gallery make sure to pop in to see the amazing murals inside. In the courtyard is one covering a whole wall showing Mexican history in great detail.

On the left-hand side next to the cafe are more murals covering a whole room. Something that is not obvious is that you can walk through this room ending up in the backyard of the building. From there you will have an unusual view of San Miguel’s main cathedral.

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San Miguel's main cathedral with machinery in the foregounrd
San Miguel’s main cathedral with machinery in the foreground

7. See The Stunning Murals In The Public Library (An Unusual Thing To Do In San Miguel De Allende For Art Lovers)

Even if you don’t like books this library is definitely worth a visit. The Public Library of San Miguel de Allende is the second largest library in Mexico with Spanish and English-speaking books.

You can enter it by walking through their bookstore where you can buy new and second-hand books. Glance up and you will be blown away by the mural that covers the whole ceiling!

Behind the store, you can enter a courtyard where people read books or attend Spanish classes. If you walk further and you will see more rooms covered in amazing murals and books. There is also a cozy café surrounded by a little garden.

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Unusual mural in the public library in San Miguel de Allende
Just wow!

8. Get A Unique Souvenir Or Gift

San Miguel de Allende is well-known for being a good place to get crafts, furniture or paintings from local artists. There are plenty of little stores in the city center, an Artisan Market and Fabrica la Aurora. Which is an art gallery with paintings and sculptures for sale.

Even if you don’t want to buy anything. San Miguel is a great place to see a lot of different kinds of art you probably have never before. Which is something you can not usually find in other parts of Mexico.

And you will for sure find an unusual souvenir or gift if that’s something you are looking for.

You will see unusual art pieces everywhere

9. Become A Kid Again In The Toy Museum

In comparison to other Mexican cities San Miguel doesn’t have a lot of museums (although many places feel like art museums). But there is one museum that sticks out and is a pretty unusual one too.

El Museo La Esquina del Juguete (Toy Museum) displays handcrafted and vintage toys from all over Mexico spread out over different floors. Admission is 70 pesos (3.5 USD) and make sure to check out their rooftop with a view if you go.

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Toy museum - an unusual thing to do in San Miguel de Allende
The entrance to the unusual toy museum

10. Join A Historical Or Architectural Walking Tour

San Miguel de Allende has a very interesting and unusual history. The city was named after Juan de San Miguel and Ignacio Allende and became wealthy in the 1700s due to silver mining. That’s when most of the beautiful buildings were built.

When the mining industry collapsed the city almost became a ghost town. It was the American artist Stirling Dickinson who arrived in 1937 and decided to open an art school that turned San Miguel around and made it a mecca for art.

If you would like to learn more about San Miguel’s history and its buildings you can book a tour here. Tours are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and their price (400 pesos / 20 USD) are used as donations for children in need. Sweet!

See also: Walking Tours in San Miguel de Allende on Viator

📍 See all tours and locations here

Colorful buildings from the Guadalupe neighbourhood
San Miguel’s buildings are not only pretty but have a lot of history to tell

11. Go On A Bike Tour (An Unusual Thing To Do In San Miguel De Allende For Tourists)

Going on a bike tour is for sure an unusual way to explore San Miguel de Allende and its surroundings.

Bici-Burro (Bike Donkey) is located in the city center of San Miguel and offers 11 bike tours and 2 hiking tours for easy to moderate fitness levels.

We also saw a highly recommended bike tour on Airbnb that looks like a great option.

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Bici-Burro entrance door
Let’s go on a bike tour!

12. Work Out In The Park For Free

One of the first things Allan and I do when arriving in a new city is looking for gyms or free workout areas and luckily San Miguel has both.

You can either combine your visit to Benito Juarez park with a free workout at their calisthenics area or bring a ball and use their free basketball court.

If you prefer a gym we know a cheap one for you which is also in a pretty unusual location: Axis Strong Gym is located inside the 3-star Posada de la Aldea hotel and you first have to walk through their beautiful garden before reaching the door to the gym.

A single entry is 50 pesos (2.5 USD) and a month costs 400 pesos (20 USD).

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Calisthenics area in Benito Juarez park
Free calisthenics area in Benito Juarez park

13. Count All Unusual Door Knockers

One of the first unusual things about San Miguel we noticed where the door knockers that are shaped like a hand and are all over the city.

We turned this into a game and tried to get a photo of all of them. We didn’t succeed but it’s a fun and unusual thing to do in San Miguel de Allende and keeps your eyes open for the beautiful and arty details in this city.

Unusual door knocker in San Miguel de Allende
How many door knobs can you count?
A door knocker in San Miguel De Allende
Are you also tempted to knock?

14. Explore San Antonio Neighborhood

While tourists will most likely spend their time in the city center of San Miguel or visit the Guadalupe neighborhood, there are more barrios to see.

The San Antonio neighborhood is only a 15-minute walk from the main cathedral and off the beaten path. It’s mostly a residential neighborhood with beautiful homes covered in flowers and murals.

But it’s also a great area for eating tacos or vegan food, so make sure you combine your exploring with a meal.

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Street art in San Antonio with a VW parked on the street
Some murals in San Antonio
People sitting by a taco cart on the street in San Miguel De Allende
Exquistos Tacos Diana is a popular taco cart in San Antonio

15. Get Organic Produce At Mercado Sano

Located in the San Antonio neighborhood is Mercado Sano (Health Market). It’s a great place for getting fresh and organic produce as well as sourdough bread and all kinds of fresh and frozen healthy food.

It also hosts different little vendors selling fresh goods and coffee. On the first floor is Soltribe Cantina, a vegan restaurant that offers delicious Mexican breakfast, lunch and dinner with a twist. It’s a vegan must-try place!

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Mercado Sano in San Miguel de Allende
Entrance to Mercado Sano

16. Go Food Shopping At City Market

A 15-minute walk down the road from Mercado Sano is City Market. Thinking of all the Mexican supermarkets we have been to this one is for sure an unusual one.

It is a super fancy supermarket filled with high-quality goods, fresh produce and lots of products from the US. We spent half an hour browsing the aisles and were amazed by all the different options. If you love food and healthy snacks this one is for you!

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Read also: How to eat healthy and cheap while traveling

The entrance to City Market an upmarket supermarket in San Miguel de Allende
The entrance to City Market

17. Try Nun Farts And Candies (An Unusual Thing To Do In San Miguel De Allende For Foodies)

Nun farts!? Yes. They are called Pedos de Monja in Spanish and are chocolates that are sold in candy stores in San Miguel. They have their origin in Spain but are a popular sweet sold in Queretaro and Guanajuato.

Pedos de Monja is a Catalan dessert created by an Italian chef who gave them the name Petto di Nun. The Catalans pronounced petto as a fart and that’s why the name stuck to them. Therefore it has nothing to do with its taste 😉

Besides nun farts, you can try all kinds of sweets in San Miguel’s candy stores. As soon as you enter you will get offered a lot of samples and can taste unusual things we never tried before such as oreo-mazapan for free.

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Candy store Dulce Catarina
Give nun farts a try

18. Try All Flavors Of Pulque

Pulque is a traditional fermented alcoholic beverage in Mexico made from Agave. Depending on who made it its texture can be a bit slimy but we really like it!

We discovered a great Mexican pulqueria in San Miguel with daily changing flavors such as oat-cinnamon, strawberry, guava, apple and natural. If it’s your first time start with a flavored one instead of natural.

A cup is 40 pesos (2 USD) and it’s for sure an unusual thing to try in San Miguel de Allende for your taste buds.

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The entrance to a pulqeria an unusual thing to do in San Miguel de Allende
Entrance to Pulqueria La Otomi

19. Go On A Taco Frenzy

While San Miguel is mostly known for fancy restaurants, it’s also a great place to eat cheap street tacos. There are a lot of really good taco carts and restaurants spread out over the city.

Read here: Allan went on a taco frenzy and listed the 10 best places to eat tacos in San Miguel here for you. Bon provecho! 🌮

Plate of birria and barbacoa tacos on a colorful table cloth at Birria Xalisco
Birria tacos at Birria Xalisco

20. Indulge In Vegan Food

While Allan checked out as many taco places as he could find I tried to eat vegan food as much as possible. There are a few vegan restaurants in San Miguel but I also found a lot of great vegan food in mixed places.

Even if you don’t eat plant-based you will love my list of 13 vegan places in San Miguel de Allende. It contains lots of colorful, healthy, fresh and yummy options that are great for your Instagram feed too 😉

Read here: 13 Vegan restaurants in San Miguel you will love

A bowl of veggies and beans at Raices
Bowl Azteca at Raices

21. Make Your Own Food At A Cooking Class

Talking about food, why not make your own and learn some new Mexican recipes? There are a few highly-rated cooking classes in town that offer Mexican cuisine with a twist.

When we ate at Deli Q, a cute and really good small restaurant in the Guadalupe neighborhood. I saw that they also host a cooking class that looked interesting, accommodates your food preferences and was reasonably priced.

📍 See all cooking classes and the location of Deli Q here

See also: Make mole & salsas in San Miguel de Allende

Deli Q entrance
Entrance to Deli Q

22. Get A Paleta And People-Watch At Templo Del Oratorio

Most people would recommend people-watching at Jardin Allende in front of the main Cathedral of San Miguel. While you should do that a more unusual spot is the square in front of the colorful Templo del Oratorio de San Felipe Neri.

You can get ice cream in a homemade cone or a paleta (water ice popsicle) in all kinds of flavors. Try coconut and pineapple-chili! Grab a free bench and enjoy the Mexican life around you.

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Coconut paleta
Coconut paleta

23. Watch The Parade On Mexican Revolution Day (An Unusual Thing To Do In San Miguel De Allende For Tourists)

Mexican Revolution Day is celebrated every year on November 20th, marking the start of what became the Mexican Revolution in 1910. It drove 1 million legal migrants to the US, 4 years before border control.

The constitution established limits on the period of time politicians could be in power and included labor reforms that covered 8h workdays, abolished child labor and established equal pay.

Until 2013 the national celebrations were located at the Zocolo in Mexico City but have been replaced by nationwide ones in all Mexican major cities.

That’s why you can see a big parade that day going through San Miguel with school kids dancing, cowboys performing and speakers blasting. It’s a lot of fun to watch.

Cowboy performing at Mexican Revolution Day
Cowboys performing

24. Join The Locos Parade In June

Dia De Locos or The Locos Parade is for sure one of the most unusual things to do in San Miguel De Allende. It is a parade where locals dress up in all types of crazy costumes and parade through town.

The parade was originally started in honor of San Pascual Bailón, known for being the Saint of the orchards. Local farmers would parade through town as thanks for the harvest of that year.

Over time the farmers would dress up in costumes while they paraded through town and the Locos Parade was born.

The parade happens on the first Sunday after June 13 in the morning. It is a unique celebration and something that you should not miss if you are in town at that time of year.

25. Spend Christmas In San Miguel de Allende

We spent December in San Miguel and it was magical! The city center turns into an ocean of arty Christmas decorations without being tacky.

You will also see a lot of red Christmas flowers everywhere as they are native to Mexico. And the best part: We had blue skies and sunshine almost every day!

Read here: How does Christmas in San Miguel look like?

Christmas in San Miguel de Allende

26. Do An Unusual Outdoor Activity In San Miguel

When it comes to outdoor activities San Miguel has a few unusual to offer that are popular (but pricy). You can go horseback riding, visit hot springs or take a hot air balloon ride for example.

Sharing is caring. Let me know in the comments if you know or have done more so I can add them to this list!

27. Visit The Cañada De La Virgen Ruins

The Canada De La Virgen Ruins are some ancient ruins that can be visited on a day trip from San Miguel. The drive to the ruins takes about 45 minutes and you can either drive there or take a tour.

The ruins were only recently excavated and have only been open to the public since 2011. This is because the ruins are located in one of the largest ex-haciendas in Guanajuato. So entrance to the site is strictly controlled by the landowners.

If you decide to visit the ruins a tour is mandatory at the site as visitors have caused damage in the past. You will also have to walk about 1.5 km to reach the site from the visitor’s site so it can be sweaty on a hot day.

You can also book an Archaeologist Led Canada De La Virgin Pyramid Tour with Viator that will pick you up from San Miguel and take you on a tour of the site.

If you are into ancient ruins then you should definitely consider visiting these unusual ruins near San Miguel de Allende.

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28. Look After Cute Pets In An Amazing House (An Unusual Thing To Do In San Miguel De Allende For Pet Lovers)

We were able to stay 5 weeks for free in San Miguel de Allende due to TrustedHousesitters. We looked after a crew of little cute dogs in an amazing house in the San Antonio neighborhood while the owners were on holiday.

It was a lot of fun and we truly enjoyed it. So if you love pets and would like to stay like a local we highly recommend doing it.

Sign up to Trusted House Sitters for free via this link + use code HAPPYHEALTHYNOMADS at checkout for a 25% discount on your yearly membership! 🐶

Read here: How Trusted House Sitters works & our experience

Allan playing with dogs
These were one of the two cute dogs we looked after

29. Retire in San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel has a long history of Americans moving here. Most of this history started when the American artist Sterling Dickinson opened an art school in there1937.

This encouraged a lot of Americas to San Miguel for study art. Many of them fell in loved with the city and ended up coming back to retire there. Nowadays San Miguel is very well-known in North America for being a great place to retire.

Besides being a beautiful and safe Mexican city, the pleasant weather all year round attracts a lot of residents. There are also a great variety of top restaurants, and cultural offers. The English-speaking community is also attractive to a lot of newcomers to the city.

House overgrown with pink flowers
A pretty place to spend your retirement

Now You Know All Unusual Things To Do In San Miguel De Allende

Although San Miguel’s usual sights are reason enough for visiting this city I hope this list will intrigue you to go off the beaten path and do some unusual things in San Miguel de Allende.

Some of them might get you out of your comfort zone but will make your trip unforgettable. Do you have an unusual thing to add or something you enjoyed doing? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!


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Hi, I am Katharina, super passionate about travel, sustainability and minimalism from Austria. I love sunshine, beaches, coffee and light travel gear. For the last 4+ years I'm traveling the world as a digital nomad and hope my tips inspire you to chase your dreams and get out of your comfort zone.

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4 thoughts on “29 Unusual Things to do in San Miguel de Allende in 2024”

  1. Colleen Sorenson

    Before 2013, street art was not permitted in San Miguel de Allende. The first Muros en Blanco festival in Colonia Guadalupe (March 22-23, 2013) secured the permission for legal painting on the street. In 2019, more than 80 murals were painted over in Colonia Guadalupe. (So what happened??) Street art has since expanded throughout numerous barrios outside El Centro. Come along with me on a private drive for a 10-year history – murals, artists, projects, changing neighborhoods. Up to 3.5 hours (longer is available), 1-3 passengers (sometimes 4). I am the founder of the Muros en Blanco Distrito de Arte project and historian of street art in San Miguel. One can reach me on Facebook – Colleen Sorenson. Visit beautiful San Miguel de Allende and get the story of the street art!

  2. We were in SMA in November and December and we enjoyed taking art classes at Fabrica de Aurora. I took sculpture, drawing, painting and mixed media.

    We also toured The Temple of Jimmy Ray full of incredible and wacky mosaics and art. It’s a must do in my opinion.

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